Segar caboose to find new home at Monroeville Community Park
For more than 15 years, a red caboose from the early 1940s has found a home in the backyard of the Segar family in Monroeville.
A recent effort of Brett Segar, along with others from the community, aims to move the beloved caboose that belonged to the late Bill Segar to the Monroeville Community Park.
“We’re trying to preserve history and it would be unique for the park,” said Brett Segar of Scott Township. “What little 5-year-old wouldn’t want a birthday party in a caboose?”
The plan, according to Segar, is to transport the caboose to the Forbes Road Career and Technology Center to have students work on its rehabilitation, including a new paint job, installing a heating and cooling unit in the floor, and installing Plexiglass in the windows.
After that, the caboose would be moved to the park, where it would be available to rent out for special occasions.
Segar said this is the way his father, whose volunteerism was deeply rooted in Monroeville, would have wanted it.
Bill Segar died of a heart attack in June 2018. He was 83.
Besides having a passion for all-things transportation – including trains – Segar cherished his time as a Gateway School District board member and loved the youth, his son said.
He was a member of the board for 28 years and served on the board of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for 22 years. He also was involved in the Monroeville Baseball Association for more than 40 years and served as a president for the Monroeville Rotary Club and as a district governor of Rotary District 7300.
When he retired from being the engineering director for Bombardier Transportation, he decided to pursue a lifelong dream: having a real-life caboose and repurposing it into a place to enjoy model trains and tracks.
And that’s what he did, his wife, Arlene, said.
“He was always interested in transportation and collected mini trains of all varieties,” she said. “And the caboose, he completely renovated it — took it down to steel beams inside. He ran mini trains and had replicas from Kennywood and Dairy Queen, some were custom-made.”
The caboose was a passion project of Bill Segar’s that he described as a “labor of love.” He purchased it for $1,000 from a company in Youngwood, paid people to move it to this back yard in Monroeville and over the years remodeled the inside to hold his train sets and tracks.
The caboose was built in 1941 and was used by train companies such as Conrail and Reading.
A GoFundMe page sponsored by the Rotary Club of Monroeville has set out to raise $10,000 for the project because of the cost associated with moving the caboose, which is estimated to weigh up to 40,000 pounds.
Debbie DiLorenzo, a former Rotary president and friend of Bill Segar’s, said the fundraiser is a worthy cause.
“It’s just a great project for the community of Monroeville and it would be something neat to be in one of our parks – something that would give us a different status of other parks,” she said.
Brett Segar hopes the caboose becomes self-sustained once situated at the Monroeville Community Park. He said maintaining it will be the most significant ongoing cost.
But finances are only part of the project’s needs, Brett Segar said.
“We’re looking for volunteers that used to work in the railroad industry to teach students as they work to refurbish (the caboose),” he said. “We’ll take as much help as we can get.”
To give, visit bit.ly/2OgcWV5.
For more information on how to volunteer, contact Brett Segar at 412-260-5928 or email him at [email protected]
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .